House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) on Tuesday demanded White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients respond to whether White House staff ordered the National Archives (NARA) to hide President Joe Biden’s classified document scandal from the American public.
At least three establishment media reports have recounted that Biden’s personal attorneys agreed to hide the scandal from the American people and likely did not plan to disclose the scandal until it was leaked on January 9, months after the initial trove was found by Biden’s personal attorney on November 2.
It’s unclear why Biden’s attorneys were initially looking for his illegally stashed documents at the Biden Penn Center. Neither the White House nor the Department of Justice (DOJ) have provided a reason or cause for the search. The White House and DOJ were the only two entities with knowledge of the scandal before it became public. According to the New York Times, White House officials are reportedly suspicious about how Biden’s classified document scandal was leaked to the press.
In a letter to Zients, Comer said he conducted a transcribed interview with NARA General Counsel Gary Stern that raised more questions regarding the Biden Administration’s involvement in suppressing the scandal. Comer said his interview with Stern revealed a double standard between how NARA handled Biden’s classified document scandal and the raid on former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence:
During questioning by Committee counsel, Mr. Stern acknowledged that on January 9, 2023, when CBS broke the news that President Biden stored classified materials at Penn Biden Center, NARA drafted a public statement in response. Mr. Stern disclosed to the Committee that someone outside of NARA withheld its release. In complete contrast, on February 7, 2022, when the Washington Post broke the story that classified documents were found in President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, NARA employees, including Gary Stern, drafted and published a statement on the agency’s website that same day.
Comer also stated the Committee has “learned” Biden “is ‘free to release’ all of his representatives’ communications and be completely transparent with the American people, if he chooses.” It is unclear why Biden has refused to comply with Comer’s oversight requests.
“Will President Biden release his attorneys’ and representatives’ communications with NARA for the public to view?” Comer questioned Zients.
“The Committee is concerned about President Biden’s lack of transparency given the serious national security implications of his conduct,” Comer wrote, demanding the White House produce a host of documents related to the scandal.
Zients has until March 21 to respond to Comer’s demands.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.
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